IT’S full steam ahead for the ViPlus dairy factory in Toora.
Contractors are about half way through stage one of the plant’s grand expansion.
Contractors with Kubale Constructions are adding on a huge 4000sqm warehousing space.
The warehouse will initially hold raw milk powder and packaging materials.
GHD consultant Jon McNaught said the warehouse is due to be completed by August.
“The contract was signed in December and work started in March,” he said.
“There has been a delay with the weather, but we should finish this part by around August.”
Site construction manager Josh Stoll from Kubale Constructions said once the roofing is installed, which was delayed due to the gale-force winds recently, the project will quickly be completed.
“The wall panels have been delivered and will go up in June and the roof should be finished by the end of the week, weather permitting,” he said.
“The next stage of the project is plant building and an enclosed truck thoroughfare.
“We’ll be using our same local contractors for that, and we’re looking to start next month.”
Meanwhile, works are continuing in the carpark area, particularly installing wind-breaks.
Mr Stoll said local contractors have been used as much as possible.
More than 100 people, including nine trades, have been employed at the site; that includes roof plumbers, hydraulic contractors, electricians and structural steel fabricators – concreters are due to arrive next week.
Gippsland companies involved in the project include: Strzelecki Steel (based in Mirboo North), MJM Excavation (Yarram), Laser Electrical (Traralgon), RPS Projects (concreters Traralgon), Quality Site Welders (Warragul) and even fill material for the site was quarried locally.
Mr McNaught said the newest extensions will see the factory’s output increase from 4000 tonnes of baby formula to 10,000 tonnes a year.
Following completion of the $50.4 million expansion, it is anticipated the plant will procure raw milk to convert into new product lines including UHT and ice cream.
Production is then expected to jump to 30,000 tonnes of milk products per annum and employ 45 people.
The factory’s expansion plans were assisted by a $1.5 million grant by the Regional Growth Fund.
Mr McNaught reported the factory had already started giving back to the community.
Recently the factory donated $2950 to the Toora Primary School. The school will use the funding to promote healthy eating habits for students, a barbecue area and canteen improvements.
The Toora Bowling Club also recently received $3000 following its sponsorship request to the factory.